Several publications have noted the passing of U.S. District Judge Louis H. Pollak of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. As the AP obituary noted, the highly respected Pollak worked on the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case, serving with the NAACP legal team. Pollak, who was 89, also served as dean of the Yale and UPenn law schools. The Times also has a detailed obituary.
Distinguished litigator and Lawdragon friend Carole Handler provided this remembrance:
Being a great lawyer does not necessarily create a great human being, but Lou Pollak was undoubtedly both. In the fall of 1974, as a third-year law student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, I was doing what I loved but wondering if I would survive! I was living in Philadelphia with my husband, then the dean of the Curtis Institute of Music, with our three-year-old daughter; was expecting a second child in November; and, on a cold October afternoon, was in a small conference room at school, finishing a law review article on Supreme Court jurisdiction and several papers, certain that I was not in the least equal to these multiple challenges.
Without warning, the door of the conference room opened and in walked Lou Pollak, who had just joined the Penn faculty as an interdisciplinary scholar and professor. I will never know what brought him to that place at that moment, but he sat down and we chatted for over thirty minutes, creating a bridge of empathy and concern that re-inspired me and which I will never forget. I had my second daughter and graduated, and we remained friends. Lou and his wife Katherine were wonderful friends to both me and my husband, and we enjoyed many delightful professorial dinners and musical events together.
Although Lou had said that he did not want to be a dean again, he took on the deanship of Penn Law because it was needed and was wonderful at that. Soon thereafter, President Carter appointed him to the bench, where he could put his values into action and shape the justice system. He was known to walk to the courthouse on Market Street with his two beautiful golden retrievers every morning – they sat as “honorary justices” in the courtroom. Though moving to Los Angeles separated me physically from special mentors and friends like Lou and the judge for whom I clerked, Edmund Spaeth, nothing can ever diminish their importance as mentors whose intellect, values, and personal humanity is what we are - or should be - all about.
– Carole Handler, May 14, 2012